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MY SERVICES

I conduct all of my culinary and agricultural services through Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center, a produce and culinary food education and marketing company. My company offers short and long-term services to diverse organic, sustainable, fairly traded food and agricultural projects around the globe.

Since my head spins with creative ideas and solutions to problems on everything from recipes to produce quality, I cannot go at it alone. My team of long-time talented and skilled independent creatives help my visions come to life. Many of my team members and contributors have been with me for over 10 years. My team and I are able to keep costs low for small farmers, food artisans, and our budget-conscious clients by exerting our cross-disciplinary expertise, driven by a DIY (do it yourself) or LIY (learn it yourself) attitudes. Together we achieve the optimum results our clients need, regardless of whether they are small organic growers needing supply chain consultancy or a magazine needing an herb recipe.

I believe in sharing my professional skills and knowledge. Cooperation flourishes best when each individual has strong reciprocated connections to a small number of others. I choose my clients as much as they choose me.

GER-NIS CULINARY & HERB CENTER

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD WRITING & TEACHING

I have significant experience as a published food writer and recipe developer. Over the past 20 years, much of my work supports farmers and their agricultural products: herbs, peppers, tomatoes and mangoes. I learned early on, while developing the writing aspect of my career, that having a strong point of view was important to me. Mostly that means supporting farmers and organic agriculture.

Some of my work has been anonymous.  For example, I wrote all the recipes for the Girl Scout Hand Books when they were revamped to be more modern, with more fresh vegetables, fruits and cultural flavors. To be the one whose recipes changed the way little girls all over the country looked at food was a profound moment. I also enjoyed that 1.5 million copies of my 30+ recipes were printed, as well as tips and ideas for Girl Scout Brownies, Cadattes, Juniors and Seniors. This project remains a highlight of my recipe-writing career.

I tend to work with people who see my vision. My recipes and writing are bold and courageous. They see things from the perspective of passion, whether for an artisanal gin maker or a beautiful fennel bulb that I turn into some unimagined dish.

I spend significant time doing consumer-driven marketing writing.  I have immense culinary knowledge about fruit and vegetable selection, storage, handling and cooking, including lots of tips and tricks and cooking ideas. I give consumers valuable insights that most in my business don’t have on their radar.

These days, time only permits so much writing. I take on projects that I am passionate about: fresh herbs and mangoes are two current muses in most of what I do, followed closely by my love of cocktails and spirit makers; and of course, anything farmer related. I’d like to write more about helping people learn about food, whether learning where their food comes from or how to use and cook with it. I’m not above frivolous writing work. My recent Ariana Grande blog post with a recipe proves that. But everything I do has to have meaning and passion outside of just money to be made.

Deadlines and last-minute projects are rather easy for me. As Ted Allen said when I appeared on Chopped and finished always a minute before the timer went off,  “Deadlines never seem to bother you do they?” No, they don’t. After over 20+ years moving perishable produce around the country, most deadliness seem rather simple to me.

Despite my busy days with the agricultural sector, I make time to practice culinary instruction, especially with children. The teaching aspect of my work continues to be close to my heart.  It’s also led me to incorporate consumer product education in my produce work, perhaps my most significant contribution.

The agricultural industry often fails to educate people about how to use the goods after purchase. Teaching consumers how to choose, store, and use fresh fruits and vegetables keeps all my passions interconnected.

When I stop noticing and acting on the holistic nature of things, the passion just stops. Passion needs a constant trajectory to live, and I feed it by offering services to those who see my spark.

STORYTELLING

I’ve been telling stories since I was a little girl, most likely to express all of the feelings inside of me. The story-telling aspect of what I do is an old skill that I have recently honed.

I love to see patterns. That’s why I am good at agricultural supply and demand planning. These days I understand the patterns of stories, especially from a marketing perspective — an authentic one, of course.  I ask lots of questions. Some people like to bury things, but my questions unbury what’s already there. Your answers allow us to live in truth. That way we recognize our own ability to shape where our next stories happen.

What I’m best at is helping farmers see not only their vision, but also the trail that lead them there. I unearth their authentic stories and remind them that they have control over them. We all do. We all connect with each other through stories. The more stories we know about each other, the more open we are.

Telling our stories out loud certainly makes us vulnerable, but vulnerability is where the good stuff lies, even with consumers and marketing. My story-telling ability allows customers or readers to forge a connection, and those connections work like friendships because they are filled with understanding, trust, receptivity and equality.

I don’t believe in separating work and personal stuff. For me, it’s all personal. The best storytelling offers a viewpoint of our authentic sides. In a world where fabricated or bedazzled versions of our businesses and ourselves exist too often, this is important work.

AGRICULTURAL CONSULTING

My agricultural career led me towards small, global organic growers.  I choose this work because my skills and passions connect in this segment. I’m attracted to skilled farmers who look at things uniquely in their field; farmers who tend to be forward thinkers and pragmatic like me. I like working with farmers who are open to learning what they don’t know, and willing to evolve and change with the times, as they must.

I have a fairly transparent approach to my agricultural work, which is unusual in our field. Collecting and sharing information (storytelling) is a vital way to learn and grow in this business. I learned early on that this method was the only way for farmers to find more money in their commodities. The marketplace was not something I could change. But I could create more cooperating small supply chain systems that would benefit all parties, especially in an industry where more often than not, all sides push and push hard. Our industry needed a softer touch.

Today I use the softer touch mainly, but I am not afraid to get assertive when I need to. As Alex Madrigal, President of Covilli Brand Organics would say about me, “ she’s an undoubtedly noble human being with that unique east coast edginess… you get a kiss, a slap and still walk away happy.”

My focus is typically on supply chain operational systems, and improvements and implementations for small organic growers who want to sell goods into the American marketplace. I do everything from new business development to day-to-day sales and commodity and program management. My work almost always includes marketing and communications. To me they are part of the story.

The majority of my projects are either long term or projects I feel a deep connection and passion towards or short term projects I feel I can contribute greatly to. The right fit is crucial for my work. I balance one foot on the farm side and one foot on the consumer side in all I do. I have deep multicultural awareness that has enabled me to work on projects in China, Israel, Holland, Tunisia, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua and more. I offer a greater foothold on the American market for clients wishing to export here. These days, organic mangoes reign supreme in my agricultural work. Mangoes make me happy.

Services | My Herbal Roots